The Mission – April 2014

My mother was a drug addict and I never knew my father. So my grandparents raised me. They were strict, but they loved and sheltered me, and they did the best they could.

The one thing they didn’t do was teach me how to take care of myself. So when I had my first child at age 18, I had no idea what to do. Then, when I met a man who promised to take care of me and my child, I moved in with him. I never had to work or anything. He provided for us, and we had two more children together.

But he also beat me and controlled every part of my life. Worse, I was so afraid to be on my own, I felt like I couldn’t leave him.

After almost 10 years of his abuse, however, I finally left him. But I still had no idea what to do so I turned to stripping to make money. My self-esteem just got worse and worse, and I had to learn to shut off my feelings to adjust.

Before long, I married another man. We had two more children, but the marriage didn’t last. He left me after three years…

I was 34 and still unable to deal with life on its own terms. Determined to change, I finally went to Union Rescue Mission and then Hope Gardens, for single moms like me.

They taught me how to write a resume and cover letter, and how to apply for a job. After I got a job, they taught me how to save money. I learned how to buy my own car. They showed me how to take care of my own living space and how to parent my kids better. Through counseling, they helped me deal with depression and my self-esteem issues.

Best of all, they gave me the chance to go to Pepperdine University, free of charge. I’m studying business and I’m already preparing to start my own botanical aromatherapy business. By this coming summer, I will be out on my own again, earning money, and taking care of my children.

I came to Hope Gardens depressed and afraid for my future. I will leave fully confident I can make it on my own. I came here broken and they put me back together. I am no longer a frightened little girl. I am a mother. I am independent, educated, and productive. I am optimistic and self-sufficient. And for the first time in my life, I can handle life on its own terms.

PaulletteHomelessness is a tragedy no matter who it affects. But there’s something particularly sad about single mothers with children who fall into homelessness.

There are many reasons single mothers experience homelessness. Certainly the economy and job layoffs after 2008 hurt many of them. But probably the top three issues affecting these families are domestic violence, substance abuse, and mental health problems. Then, by the time they arrive here at Hope Gardens, these mothers are also struggling with hopelessness and unbearable fatigue, while their children suffer from fear and a lack of stability.

Nurturing New Lives

Your financial support enables Hope Gardens to provide these young mothers and children with crucial services designed to prepare them to leave here healthy, stable, and in permanent housing.

Thanks to caring people like you, we start by offering them the basics — food, shelter, safety, and medical care. We also provide the children with stability, safety, and love, so they can be children again. Then we work with the mothers to come up with a long-term plan to meet their individual goals.

We teach them how to set up a budget and pay their bills. We give them the opportunity to get their GED, college education, or job training. Our mental health team provides help dealing with post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental-health issues. And our chaplains offer comfort and encouragement. The mothers also attend classes on domestic violence and substance abuse, parenting, job preparation, Christian discipleship, and the Bible.

Hope Gardens receives no government funds, so we can only provide these services with your help.

Climbing Together in a Community

As a result, up to 70% of our families leave Hope Gardens spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy, stable, and in permanent housing.

Hope Gardens is a true community — not just of mothers and children experiencing homelessness, but a community involving all of us, including staff and even donors like you. Working here, I’ve come to realize we’re all climbing up a mountain together, struggling and growing together as we reach for the lives God intended for us in a Garden we call Hope.


Right now, thousands of hurting mothers like Raven, along with fathers, sons, and daughters, are struggling with homelessness in Los Angeles. Many suffer from fear, loneliness, physical abuse, addictions, neglect, illness, job losses, home foreclosures, and more.

Your gifts help protect precious families, restore broken lives, and mend families in need of nurture and love. Thank you!

This Mother’s Day, your generous gift of $25, $35, or more will help provide safe shelter, hot meals, and a second chance at life for more mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters who deserve more than abandonment on Skid Row.

So I urge you, please send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you!

To put your gift to work even faster, go to


andyNotes From Andy
Raising Moms

It’s been over 20 years ago now. I was working at another rescue, when a 16-year-old pregnant girl was brought to us for help.

She declined our help, at first, but later she found herself living out of her car, with two babies, in sub-freezing temperatures. She changed her mind and came to our shelter.

With our help, she got into transitional housing. Later she enrolled in college, graduated, and became a teacher. She bought a home, got married, and is now a mother to five children. She writes to me regularly to say, “Thank you for changing my life. I’m a success today and my life is good.”

She changed my life, too. And now she’s just one of the many reasons I’m so committed to helping more precious moms like her. But do you know that almost 2,200 families with children will sleep on the streets of Los Angeles tonight? It’s a growing tragedy that doesn’t get much press. And because of cuts to food stamps and unemployment benefits last year, it will only grow worse.

We simply must do better. And thanks to caring people like you, I know we will.





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